Only Tea Plantation in America Re-Opens
We get many questions about where tea is grown and if there is any tea grown here in the USA. We have tried to grow some tea seeds here in Tucson but the climate is a bit too dry and the sun way too strong to really do this effectively. Other friends of ours have tried and successfully grown some tea bushes as house plants here in the States. But there is one plantation here that has successfully grown and manufactured tea.
The Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island about 20 miles southwest of Charleston reopened in January 2006 and opened for tours in May. The plantation was closed in 2003 after being purchased by the Bigelow Tea Corporation. The administrators at Bigelow couldn’t bear to see the only plantation in America plowed under, so they renovated and reopened not only for tea production, but also for tours. The plantation, production facility, and a gift shop are now officially open to visitors. American Classic Tea, the signature tea of the plantation and a favorite in the South, is growing again in the fields of the Charleston Tea Plantation.
This is a great opportunity for people curious to experience tea growing, who may not otherwise be able to travel to Asia, to visit the tea gardens there. It also helps put into perspective the massive global undertaking of millions of people to supply a simple leaf for billions of people to enjoy. Remarkable indeed.
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The first time I tried chai was in the kitchen of my parent’s house, and served by my younger sister. “You have to taste this—” she insisted, pushing a mug across the countertop to me. She refused to elaborate on its contents. The flavors, she said, would speak for themselves.
The quality of water affects the taste of your tea; this is beyond dispute. The relative quantities of mineral salts, oxygen and trace elements determine the relative "liveliness" or "flatness" of a particular cup. To that simple substance we add the basic flavor of the leaf itself or an herbal substitute.